Anyone attempting to establish a reputation as a consultant—or establish the right rate for her services—will struggle in the initial stages. It's always a risk to go out on your own and demand fair compensation. Ask for too little, and people will take advantage of your services or see them as inferior; ask for too much, and people won't hire you because someone else will do the same work for less.
Discovering what other firms charge and how they structure their contracts can be difficult. Most of our assumptions are based on hearsay: "Firm X charges $600 an hour and sends in junior consultants" or "Consultant Y is absurdly expensive." This secondhand knowledge is often outdated—if it was ever true in the first place—muddying the waters of compensation even further.
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